The St. Louis Rams have been put on notice.
Their hold on the No. 2 overall choice in the 2012 NFL draft could be tenuous even if the team loses its remaining games. That is because the Minnesota Vikings could also finish 2-14, and their strength of schedule could wind up being easier.
Remaining schedules for Rams, Vikings
Kevin Seifert of the NFC North blog breaks down the details. Teams with worse records draft earlier. If tied, teams with easier strengths of schedule pick earlier.
For the moment, the Rams lead the Vikings for the second overall choice based on the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker. Rams opponents are 94-75. The Vikings' opponents are 97-72, including a combined 26-0 for two games against Green Bay.
But in looking at the chart, we see the Vikings finishing their schedule against teams with a combined 21-18 record. The Rams' opponents are 27-12.
Those records will change as the teams play their remaining games, but if we added those upcoming opponents' current records to past opponents' records, Minnesota would have the easier strength of schedule (118-90 to 121-87).
I've gone through each team's remaining opponents and made reasonable 16-game record projections, assuming those teams won all their games against the Vikings and Rams. Minnesota's strength of schedule would be easier, 124-93 to 127-90.
The Rams have owned the No. 2 overall choice twice in the past three seasons. They took Chris Long second in 2008 and Jason Smith second the following season. Picking third instead of second wouldn't seem to affect them as much given their needs. The team should not be in the market for a quarterback in the first round. No single position stands out as one the team absolutely must address over all others.